Tuesday, September 30, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Safer rail cars needed to carry crude, Garamendi says

Garamendi1W

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, addresses a Davis town hall meeting Saturday. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | February 11, 2014 |

Rep. John Garamendi said that the federal government should demand stronger rail cars “right now” to begin to address public fears after a series of explosions on trains hauling crude oil across the United States and Canada.

Shipments of crude into California are set to increase by some 48 million barrels this year. Valero Energy Corp. has plans to ramp up production at its Benicia facility — increasing the amount of crude carried through Davis and other communities helpless to regulate them.

It may be possible for the Department of Transportation to tighten regulations on its own, without waiting for Congress to act, said Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove.

“We’re moving forward. This is a big issue,” he said. “For me, go to the high standards right now and make it in America. This is an opportunity for us to enhance the American manufacturing sector: build those cars here with American steel.”

Sturdier rail cars also ought to include rubber bladders as cushioning, he said.

About 90 people attended Garamendi’s open question-and-answer session at the Community Chambers on Saturday. It was the third of three he held at sites across the district that day.

Among the other issues he addressed: water, hydraulic fracturing and the struggle of environmentalists to be heard.

Asked about California’s high-speed rail project, Garamendi said it presented the opportunity to increase safety by creating an alternative line for commuters while upgrading the Capitol Corridor, but that it won’t happen anytime soon — or ever.

A longtime supporter of high-speed rail, he expressed frustration that the project will begin in Madera, in the Central Valley, rather than, say, between San Diego and Los Angeles or between San Francisco and San Jose, places where trains could serve millions of people sooner.

“I’m very concerned about the choices that have been made,” he said. “I think the result of this is that high-speed rail isn’t going to go anywhere.”

Garamendi returned again to touting his water plan for the state that focuses on conservation and off-stream storage — and bashing Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $28 billion twin-tunnel plan to move water south from the delta.

The congressman says his plan would create 5 million acre-feet of “new” water for half the cost of the tunnels, which would cause irreparable environmental damage.

He tied together his fellow Democrat’s tunnel plan to a House GOP bill passed last week that would end efforts to override environmental protections for the delta, end work to reconnect the San Joaquin River to the ocean and ship water to Central Valley farms, instead.

“If you can imagine if the tunnels were there today, and they were able to get the votes in the Senate, what would happen to the waters of Northern California,” Garamendi said. “They’d be in the tunnels, they wouldn’t be in the bay or San Francisco or the delta.”

Among the projects he said that he “strongly” supported: the proposed Sites Reservoir, which would flood 14,000 acres of Antelope Valley near Maxwell. It would store more water than Folsom Reservoir, with most of the stored water diverted from the Sacramento River.

He said he expects a bill from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., soon that is aimed at moving that project forward.

Garamendi said the state also should turn to new technology to save water. UC Davis scientists have told him that readily available satellite, ground sensor and other technology could be used to save as much as 30 percent on irrigation for row crops, 14 percent for tree crops.

A project on the American River is showing how the stream monitoring could be done in real time. Better monitoring of the snow pack is needed, he said, and drones could even be used to provide better information on storm systems.

Asked about fracking, Garamendi said it needs to be “heavily regulated.”

“There’s no good regulatory system to regulate what the chemicals are, to let the communities know what’s going on, to deal with aquifers and the like,” he said. “California is moving in that direction. There’s a lot of controversy about it. People feel that it’s not strong enough (legislation), and that’s probably true.”

He was more pessimistic when asked about the possibility of slowing the shipment of coal to developing countries and imposing a carbon tax. Both would run into powerful forces in Washington, he said.

He called a carbon tax “an elegant system,” which has some support from the energy sector, but said “it isn’t going to happen. The Republicans control the House of Representatives, so, no, it isn’t going to happen.”

Garamendi said he would support a modified version of the plan by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, to allow salvage logging on thousands of acres of federal land near Yosemite National Park ravaged by last year’s Rim Fire, with money raised put toward rehabilitating the forest.

McClintock’s bill passed the House. Without changes, it likely will die in the Democratically controlled Senate — just as the GOP drought plan is forecasted to do.

The bill “pushes aside environmental laws,” Garamendi said. He said he has urged McClintock to add a shortened time for environmental review and an arbitration process.

Garamendi encouraged local environmentalists to write letters, demonstrate and attend town hall meetings to make their voices heard on their concerns, but he acknowledged they face a tough battle in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.

It allowed for the rise of the so-called super PACs, independent political action committees that can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals.

Garamendi said he would support a constitutional amendment imposing campaign financing limits.

“Don’t hold your breath” on that ever receiving the necessary federal and state approval, though. More progress can be made pushing for more robust disclosure laws, instead, he said.

“If you have robust disclosure, it will dampen the enthusiasm of these super PACs,” Garamendi said. “They don’t want to be known. They don’t want people to know what they’re up to.”

Online: http://garamendi.house.gov

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Man on a mission: Rob White seeks to transform Davis

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Poppenga outlines ambitious agenda

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Cool Davis Festival is très chill

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sanity phase begins in Daniel Marsh trial

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

    Council looks at granny-flat revision

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Find the perfect club or organization to join

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C2 | Gallery

    Forum examines Props. 1 and 2 on November ballot

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Try out basic yoga on Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    DCC welcomes students with free lunch

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Gibson House hosts plant sale and garden event

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Register to vote by Oct. 20

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Assembly candidates will be at Woodland forum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    California approves landmark ‘yes means yes’ law

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    TSA bomb training may be noisy

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Number of wheels: How many bicycles do you have in your household?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C5 | Gallery

    Emerson gives away old textbooks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Downtown history tour planned in October

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Fraud Awareness Fair set Oct. 15 in West Sac

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    UCD, University College Dublin will cooperate on food, health

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Accessibility technology on exhibit at fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Covell Gardens breakfast benefits Komen Foundation

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Put your hoes down and celebrate the harvest

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Panelists discuss raising children with special needs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    DCC hosts fair-trade gift sale on Oct. 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Woodland PD seeks volunteers for ViP program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    DMTC makes musical theater accessible to everyone

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: C9 | Gallery

    Snapshot: A night out with the neighbors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C10

     
    Take home a wreath from Davis Flower Arrangers’ meeting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Davis school names reflect interesting history

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: C12

     
    Snapshot: Plenty of places to park it

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C14

    Snapshot: Dive into Davis fun

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C15

     
    Snapshot: Kick garbage to the curb

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C16

    Snapshot: Sounds like a party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C17

     
    .

    Forum

    He seems happy at home

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    It takes two to lambada

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Archer has the right stuff

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Get on your bikes to meet Davis’ greenhouse gas goals

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Marsh case shows need for ‘Maupin’s Law’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    The great bedtime conspiracy

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    They’re best-prepared to lead

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Vibrant and hard-working

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Davis golfers get teaching moments in forfeit win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    ‘Playoff game’ or missed chance? Either way the Aggies move on

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils move atop league standings with win

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Only 15 months out of UCD, Runas off to LPGA Tour

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Two Junior Blue Devil squads emerge victorious

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Woodland artist hosts event at her new studio

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    I-House film series continues with ‘Monsieur Lazhar’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    ‘Art Farm’ exhibition will open in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Pleasant Valley Boys cool down Picnic in the Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Acclaimed guitarist Peppino D’Agostino to play The Palms

    By Landon Christensen | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Michael Allen Hanks Baxter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Anne Elizabeth Elbrecht

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7